Possible delay to start of spring training in Arizona could cause staffing issues, executive says
Feb 3, 2022, 4:35 AM
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
PHOENIX — With spring training nearing in Arizona and no signs of the lockout coming to an end, staffing could become a dangerous game for the Cactus League, according to a top executive.
Bridget Binsbacher, the Cactus League’s executive director, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that a delay to the annual Major League Baseball preseason could lead to the league striking out in hiring all of the approximately 6,000 part-time, seasonal positions needed for the monthlong operation.
Players are scheduled to report to various sites in metro Phoenix as early as Feb. 14. Games are set to start Feb. 26, an impossibility without the MLB and its players association coming together on a new collective bargaining agreement.
“Should there be new information or a change to what we’re working toward right now, that could create challenges in filling positions,” Binsbacher said. “It’s not just positions we’re hiring for. We have thousands of volunteers to support this spring training operation.”
Binsbacher said hiring and bringing in new positions has been the league’s biggest challenge. That’s partially due to the uncertainty of the season but also is attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the Cactus League isn’t involved in lockout discussions and is planning for normal operations, but is ready to adjust on the fly if necessary.
The league hasn’t had a full, unrestricted season since 2019.
“We’ve shown that we can be flexible and adaptable to whatever comes our way,” Binsbacher said.
Ticket sales haven’t been a cause for concern.
Binsbacher said they’re “pleasantly surprised” with how well fans are scooping up tickets to see 15 teams across 10 facilities in metro Phoenix.
“The Arizona Cactus League should and could be part of the recovery and that’s what all our stakeholders, partners and fans are looking forward to in getting back into these stadiums,” Binsbacher said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Tasler contributed to this report.